Congratulations to Ray K., nominated and chosen as the July 2019 Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) Volunteer of the Month.
Ask anyone at MCAS about Ray, and they all say he’s the volunteer that gets things done. Ray’s prolific initiative to help the animals and people at the shelter and improve the environment has made him well-known and well-liked among his peers. Whether caring for kittens in the Kitten Triage Program, helping adopters in the cattery, or building something with the Hammer & Nails Volunteers, Ray has a smile on his face and a can-do attitude through it all.
Adoption as a Gateway
Ray and his spouse, Pat, came to Multnomah County Animal Services to adopt a kitten after losing a beloved cat nine years ago. As a Vet Tech, Pat made the animal care staff very happy when she and Ray fell in love with a special needs kitten to adopt. Ray liked the adoption experience and the people he met at the shelter so much that he decided to volunteer.
Trap Neuter Return (TNR)
One of Ray’s favorite memories as a volunteer involved getting together with a handful of other volunteers and staff in 2011 to develop a Trap Neuter Return (TNR) pilot program in conjunction with the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO). The program became the Apartment Cat Team (ACT). The goal of TNR is to humanely prevent the exponential growth of cat colonies where kittens are bred and born outdoors, without owners.
Ray was a founding member of the ACT program at MCAS along with Paula Y., and consequently one of the volunteers doing the heavy lifting. After identifying a target apartment complex or trailer park and making the necessary arrangements, Ray and fellow volunteer, Paula, would set up live-traps, wait somewhere nearby where they could complete paperwork for spay/neuter surgery with FCCO, check back on the traps near the end of the day, and transport cats to scheduled FCCO spay and neuter clinics for surgery. After recovery, the cats would be dropped back off in the location they were trapped. Ray and other volunteers would also assist the caretakers of the returned community cats, at times providing guidance on their care, and even building feeding stations to help manage the population.
Ray enjoyed developing the program with his friends and fellow volunteers, and the independence of the early days of the pilot program. What was originally the Apartment Cat Team (ACT) became the Action Cat Team (ACT), which spayed and neutered over 1,800 community cats until being discontinued in 2018 due to budgetary restrictions.
Hammer and Nails
Ray is a leader of the Hammer & Nails volunteer crew. As a former Plumber by trade, Ray has plenty of tools at home to get the job done. Whereas Multnomah County Animal Services has a County Facilities Division to maintain the actual shelter building, there are many repair and building project needs that fall outside the scope of what they normally provide. Hammer & Nails is the official name of volunteers who assemble kennels, build or repair chicken-coops, Pitties in Pink float hardware, enrichment equipment and furnishings, and other important projects to support the animals at MCAS. Ray enjoys some Hammer & Nails projects that he can take home with him. He recently built a chicken-coop for the shelter in his garage, close to all the comforts of home. Ray says that building things like enrichment equipment for the animals is his favorite form of enrichment for himself- “it would be so boring not to have this place in my life.”
“Kitten triage is my favorite volunteer duty,” Ray says, “because they’re helpless. They’re lost without their mother and in need of someone to give them a break in life. I’m comfortable doing about 90% of the care they need- mostly litter boxes and kennel cleaning, feeding, and doing dishes.” Ray appreciates other volunteers on the team- like Darlene- who have professional medical experience to help monitor and treat the fragile neonatal kittens.
Ray averaged one cat adoption per year until adopting his personal limit of cats for his home after accumulating five. Ray knew the only way to have more cats and kittens was to foster. He says Pat holds him accountable to prevent future fosters from ending in a “foster failure” adoption.
Where Your Friends Are
A common theme among our volunteers is that they come for the animals, and stay for the people who love animals- Ray is no exception. He says “all of my closest friends volunteer at the shelter. There are just so many people here that I like, because we all have the same desire to help animals have a better life.”
What the Staff Say
“Ray is very talented, funny, and dedicated. He’s a riot to have around.” - Karen M.
“Ray is the kind of volunteer who sees a need and takes care of it. He’s easy-going and helpful, and just rolls with the punches of whatever his foster kittens are going through.” -Jen S.
“Whether it’s building fixtures for the feral cat colony room, or building kennels, or bringing home feral or sick kittens, or kittens and their mothers- Ray does it all. You name it, he does it. He doesn’t even ask, he just jumps in and says what he can do for you! He’s our Jack of all trades and ace in the hole.” - Jackie V.
Thank you, Ray, for your ongoing service and dedication to the animals and people at Multnomah County Animal Services.
July 2019 Nominees
Thank you to our stellar volunteers nominated for the July 2019 Volunteer of the Month!
- Mary Ellen A.
- Robynne R.
- Debbi S.
- Janice T.
- Amanda T.
- Brandy T.